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Author Oscar Wilde published several acclaimed works, including The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.
Oscar Wilde's father was Ireland's leading eye surgeon and was knighted in 1864.
Oscar Wilde died at age 46 on November 30, 1900 from meningitis.
Although he was married to Constance Lloyd, Wilde spent nights in a hotel with Lord Alfred Douglas. It was his most prolific writing period.
Oscar Wilde sued the Marquis de Queensburg for libel, lost, and wound up in jail for gross indecency because of his homosexuality.
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Wilde emerged from prison in 1897, physically depleted, emotionally exhausted and flat broke. He went into exile in France, where, living in cheap hotels and friends' apartments, he briefly reunited with Douglas. Wilde wrote very little during these last years; his only notable work was a poem he completed in 1898 about his experiences in prison, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol."
Wilde died of meningitis on November 30, 1900 at the age of 46.
More than a century after his death, Wilde is still better remembered for his personal life—his exuberant personality, consummate wit and infamous imprisonment for homosexuality—than for his literary accomplishments. Nevertheless, his witty, imaginative and undeniably beautiful works, in particular his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his play The Importance of Being Earnest, are considered among the great literary masterpieces of the late Victorian period.
Throughout his entire life, Wilde remained deeply committed to the principles of aestheticism, principles that he expounded through his lectures and demonstrated through his works as well as anyone of his era. "All art is at once surface and symbol," Wilde wrote in the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray. "Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex and vital."
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